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How to EQ ribbons - WA273 or WA273EQ Dynamic Microphones
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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How to EQ ribbons - WA273 or WA273EQ

Hi Everyone,

After having spent hours and hours of reading and learning on this great community it's now time for my first thread. I am building up my studio (for recording drums) and also acquiring gear. I already made one important decision: I'm really more of a hardware guy than a software guy. So I go for hardware pre's and turn real knobs :-)

The heart of my studio is an Allen & Heath Qu-Sb. I use that as my interface so for now I have to deal with the AD/DA converter quality of that unit. In the future I am thinking of getting an Antelope Orion Studio because of the 12 inputs and great conversion, I think it would be a nice step up in the (near) future. For preamps I am seriously looking at the Warm Audio WA-412 (API) and WA73 (Neve), on the Neve I have to figure out whether I want to have it with or without the EQ.

I need minimum of 8 mics for my drums, so 8 channels.

I have a couple of questions, this is one of them:
I want to use ribbons for two overheads and hihat (three M160's). Since ribbons commonly need some EQ on the top end, I was wondering if it's best to get the 273EQ version. The alternative would be to do the EQ'ing in the software of my Allen & Heath.

Another question is:
- would you advise me to go with the WA-412 and add WA273's, or:
- just get two WA-412's and one or two WA273's, or:
- for instance get a WA-412 and an Audient ASP880?

What would you advise me and why?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanHaakma View Post
Hi Everyone,

After having spent hours and hours of reading and learning on this great community it's now time for my first thread. I am building up my studio (for recording drums) and also acquiring gear. I already made one important decision: I'm really more of a hardware guy than a software guy. So I go for hardware pre's and turn real knobs :-)

The heart of my studio is an Allen & Heath Qu-Sb. I use that as my interface so for now I have to deal with the AD/DA converter quality of that unit. In the future I am thinking of getting an Antelope Orion Studio because of the 12 inputs and great conversion, I think it would be a nice step up in the (near) future. For preamps I am seriously looking at the Warm Audio WA-412 (API) and WA73 (Neve), on the Neve I have to figure out whether I want to have it with or without the EQ.

I need minimum of 8 mics for my drums, so 8 channels.

I have a couple of questions, this is one of them:
I want to use ribbons for two overheads and hihat (three M160's). Since ribbons commonly need some EQ on the top end, I was wondering if it's best to get the 273EQ version. The alternative would be to do the EQ'ing in the software of my Allen & Heath.

Another question is:
- would you advise me to go with the WA-412 and add WA273's, or:
- just get two WA-412's and one or two WA273's, or:
- for instance get a WA-412 and an Audient ASP880?

What would you advise me and why?
Are you recording to Qu-Drive or to a DAW (computer)?
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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I want to use it to record to Logic Pro..
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Can anyone please give me some insights?

Thank you so much!
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanHaakma View Post
Can anyone please give me some insights?

Thank you so much!
I'd use Logic's built-in EQ plugins to be honest.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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Helge's Avatar
 

Let me put it that way - I´d be glad to track drums with M160s through API x12 type preamps without any EQ pre-conversion.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

If you have a separate live room and control room and can hear the effect of hardware EQ on your drums before you actually record them, then having that EQ in the chain makes sense.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helge View Post
Let me put it that way - I´d be glad to track drums with M160s through API x12 type preamps without any EQ pre-conversion.
Do you also mean with this that a Neve pre would be too dark with ribbons?

I want the best natural yet punchy sound I can get. If that means Neve’ish pre’s on overheads but no M160 ribbon mics (but for instance 414 mics) then that’s an option too.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
If you have a separate live room and control room and can hear the effect of hardware EQ on your drums before you actually record them, then having that EQ in the chain makes sense.
No I have just one room and I would use the gear to both have a nice sound on my headphones as to have a nice sound to record.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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swafford's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JanHaakma View Post
I want to use ribbons for two overheads and hihat (three M160's). Since ribbons commonly need some EQ on the top end, I was wondering if it's best to get the 273EQ version. The alternative would be to do the EQ'ing in the software of my Allen & Heath.
I don't know the 160's or the Warm products or the A&H - I use the AEA M88 for OH.

I track in the same room also and typically EQ drums when I'm mixing.

Generally speaking, I usually end up boosting the 5K or 7.5K frequency to bring up the cymbals/HH and sometimes the 400 - 500 range to give me a little more oomph from the toms (4 mics on the drum kit for me.) On snare and depending on what else is in the mix, it's sometimes in the 800-1000 range to bring bit more presence to the body, though I'm using an SDC there and on rare occasion a high shelf at 7.5 to 10k.

Hope that helps.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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Helge's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JanHaakma View Post
Do you also mean with this that a Neve pre would be too dark with ribbons?

I want the best natural yet punchy sound I can get. If that means Neve’ish pre’s on overheads but no M160 ribbon mics (but for instance 414 mics) then that’s an option too.
No no - in my experience the M160s are really on the bright side and your generalisation "ribbons need EQ" (usually high lift and lo mid cuts) does not apply in this case...
in fact with 414s I think you might have to cut out even more.

Not familiar with the WA offerings but I don´t think the neve type would be too dark.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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Seriously, you guys are being too kind!

Since I am building up my rig (and I don't really know so much about how to get a great sound), I have quite some questions to make sure I do the right thing. Or at least: to make sure I don't make any stupid decisions :-)

So thank you all! I really like being Gearslutz.

I have made some progress making up my mind on what to get:
- first: keep the Allen & Heath qu-sb as interface and get good mics & preamps. Updating the Allen & Heath to something like Antelope is a desire for the (near) future;
- I need minimum of 8 preamp channels, so the WA-412 will be kind of a no brainer, the only thing is to figure out how to get the next 4.
- This could be another API'ish thing like the WA-412, or on the Neve corner two WA-273's;
- I skip the outboard EQ for now, so if I go Neve style for my other 4 channels I will not buy the WA-273EQ but the WA-273.

Does this all make some sense to you guys? Or should I just get an Audient ASP880 (and maybe only a WA-412), this would cost less and give me more channels... The most important thing to me is: great sounding drums.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanHaakma View Post
Seriously, you guys are being too kind!

Since I am building up my rig (and I don't really know so much about how to get a great sound), I have quite some questions to make sure I do the right thing. Or at least: to make sure I don't make any stupid decisions :-)

So thank you all! I really like being Gearslutz.

I have made some progress making up my mind on what to get:
- first: keep the Allen & Heath qu-sb as interface and get good mics & preamps. Updating the Allen & Heath to something like Antelope is a desire for the (near) future;
- I need minimum of 8 preamp channels, so the WA-412 will be kind of a no brainer, the only thing is to figure out how to get the next 4.
- This could be another API'ish thing like the WA-412, or on the Neve corner two WA-273's;
- I skip the outboard EQ for now, so if I go Neve style for my other 4 channels I will not buy the WA-273EQ but the WA-273.

Does this all make some sense to you guys? Or should I just get an Audient ASP880 (and maybe only a WA-412), this would cost less and give me more channels... The most important thing to me is: great sounding drums.
And the most important things to get you there are: good drums, good room, good drummer.

I have a Qu-24; I have M160s. My room is decent-to-good. I think my drums sound pretty good, but I know there are limitations in my room. Putting on fresh heads and tuning them for the room produces the best results for me, more than changing mics.

Placement is more critical than mic choice too: take an SM57 and change it from 1" to 3" above the rim, move it slightly inwards towards the center of the drum so it's just inside the circumference of the rim and aim it dead center. You'll get a fat snare sound with far less ringing overtones... provided you're hitting the snare drum dead center... so now with that placement, relax your left hand and pretend you're trying to hit the floor below the snare and catch some rim with the stick. You'll get a huge crack out of it. Now do that consistently. Congratulations, you now sound like John Bonham... wait, do you have Ambassadors on the bottom head cranked up on a Supra 402 snare? Sorry, no Bonham for you.

Mics, these are more of a "seasoning" on the final dish: M160s have a very particular sound, they really bring out the snare drum and rack tom in a Recorder Man overhead setup, but they are like "flashlights" because they have high rejection (hypercardioid), so you have to be careful with placement for cymbals. You will absolutely want to add some mid-high/high shelfing EQ boost to the M160s: they are brighter than most ribbons, but they still need some help.

414s are more of a general purpose classic sound where the M160s will be a unique sound, but it really depends on what the song calls for.

I wouldn't worry about pres right now if your budget doesn't allow it; the Qu preamps are high quality, clean/fast/transparent.

Focus on investing in your space and your drums: fresh heads all around, spend tons of time just playing them and listening for sympathetic rings, rattles, etc. and fix that first, then worry about pres and mics.

Last edited by gravyface; 1 week ago at 03:25 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #14
If you're new to the practice of recording then the conversation about which equipment is going to give you the better sound beyond a useful sound is probably premature. You have to lean how to record first, and that might best be done by using affordable, ordinary studio equipment.

If you want to record drums then you should know that the room, kit and player are a big deal. The next big deal is the mic placement. If any of those things are off it's not going to sound as good as you might imagine, no matter the preamps, EQ or conversion.

I recommend learning to record drums with some ordinary mics like a collection of Rode NT3 for the whole kit, try different placements and locations and learn what you can learn from that. You seem to be interested in preamps and equalizers and I think that's great. But if you don't get the mic-placement right that stuff isn't going to save you. Placing mics is EQ.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
And the most important things to get you there are: good drums, good room, good drummer.

I have a Qu-24; I have M160s...
Thank you so much for your insights. I do know how to tune drums and I am currently working on my studio. It is unfortunately not as large as I would want to but I will do all I can to make it sound (and feel!) as good as it gets.

I know that my A&H by itself sounds very ok. So let's put it this way: my goal is to have a bigger and more lively drum sound with a 'feel'. The A&H sounds very good, but it's quite decent. I was thinking (or maybe hoping) that a number of not too expensive but nice preamp channels would bring my drum sound a bit more to life, more exciting.

So can you please tell me what you think would change if I had the same set of mics, same well tuned kit, same drummer, same room and A/B'd the sound between just the Allen & Heath and the Warm Audio preamps (both API and Neve style)?

Mics are: MD421 on toms, subkick and D6 on kick, sm57 on snare, M160 on hihat and overheads.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post
If you're new to the practice of recording...
Thank you for this. I am curious what your oppinion would be regarding the questions I asked my previous post?
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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I think the OP needs to learn for himself the hard way, so in other words, get whatever you want and enjoy the (long) journey ahead of you.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
I think the OP needs to learn for himself the hard way, so in other words, get whatever you want and enjoy the (long) journey ahead of you.
Haha it's always nice to have some seniority over others on a certain subject but I think it would still be possible to answer questions of people who don't have that kind of experience (yet).
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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Originally Posted by JanHaakma View Post
Haha it's always nice to have some seniority over others on a certain subject but I think it would still be possible to answer questions of people who don't have that kind of experience (yet).
The API "sound" could be described as mid-forward and aggressive; Neve "sound", warm/full/big.

Whether Warm Audio's products do or not, well, there are dozens of posts about their product lines. I think that Zen Audio has some samples too and I'm sure you could search for "Warm audio shootout" in Google or here and find something interesting.

Lastly, order from somewhere that has a good return policy. My store gives me 30 days no questions asked, so I can order something in and return/exchange if I don't like it.
Old 1 week ago
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by JanHaakma View Post
Thank you for this. I am curious what your oppinion would be regarding the questions I asked my previous post?
I think you'd like the sound of the Warm pres.

They might seem larger and have more of a sense of impact than the Allen and Heath mixer. Any EQ you dial in will affect the tone too. Nothing wrong with the Warm stuff.

You might get something useful from this article about drum overhead mic-ing:
Comparing overhead drum miking techniques | recording hacks
Old 1 week ago
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post
I think you'd like the sound of the Warm pres.

They might seem larger and have more of a sense of impact than the Allen and Heath mixer. Any EQ you dial in will affect the tone too. Nothing wrong with the Warm stuff.

You might get something useful from this article about drum overhead mic-ing:
Comparing overhead drum miking techniques | recording hacks
The Qu pres are quite good.

I have Heritage Audio Elites and had GAP 73s and the difference is very subtle unless you’re driving them hard and then you get distortion as you’d expect. However, this may be exactly what the song needs.

For the OP though: I wouldn’t bother with pres. exhaust the mic placement options, room, tuning for the room, song, etc. first.
Old 1 week ago
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
The Qu pres are quite good.

I have Heritage Audio Elites and had GAP 73s and the difference is very subtle unless you’re driving them hard and then you get distortion as you’d expect. However, this may be exactly what the song needs.

For the OP though: I wouldn’t bother with pres. exhaust the mic placement options, room, tuning for the room, song, etc. first.
Thanks again. As a matter of fact: I have decided to not do anything now concerning preamps. I will just start off with the Allen & Heath and the right mics.

The only thing I will buy is a good pair of overheads (I already have the mics for toms, snare and kick). So I think I will order three M160's this week, one for hihats and two for overheads.

I was thinking of the M160's for overheads because I like the idea of ribbons and my ceiling is only 2,30 metres high...
Old 6 days ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanHaakma View Post
Thanks again. As a matter of fact: I have decided to not do anything now concerning preamps. I will just start off with the Allen & Heath and the right mics.

The only thing I will buy is a good pair of overheads (I already have the mics for toms, snare and kick). So I think I will order three M160's this week, one for hihats and two for overheads.

I was thinking of the M160's for overheads because I like the idea of ribbons and my ceiling is only 2,30 metres high...
I love the M160: it's amazing on guitar too along with a 57 and a 421.

It is very likely you won't even need a hi-hat mic, so I think I'd rather grab a more useful mic than a 3rd M160.
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